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Review for Jacobs Ladder Inc, Urbanna, VA, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

While I didn't go through the Jacob's Ladder (JL) enrichment and advocacy program as a youth participant (referred to as "climbers" in JL), this organization has had a tremendous - I'd not hesitate to say "life changing" - impact on me. During my college years, I served as one of JL's summer camp Resident Advisors (RAs) who execute the day-to-day camp operations and create a nurturing environment for the climbers. I witnessed first-hand how the program changes these children -- empowering them to identify and use their talents, instilling in them attributes of empathy and compassion, and enabling them to recognize the value of education in attaining goals. This is the reason that I continue to volunteer with and support JL more than a decade after my introduction to the organization. I have learned so much more from the climbers than I ever could have taught them. Because of the multi-year, residential camp experience that is the cornerstone of JL's programming, deep and supportive bonds are formed among adults and participants, and these relationships continue to be a source of strength for those involved even after direct involvement in the camp may end.

Recently, I completed a Master's of Science in Youth Development Leadership - something that I would never have pursued without the JL experience and its many rewards. My final school project focused on the impact of JL in the context of youth self-efficacy/self-confidence. Survey and interview data collected as part of the study confirmed what I had observed over the years: JL has a significant, positive, and long-term effect on its young people's self-belief in their abilities to perform well academically, build relationships with peers and adults, regulate their emotions and cope with adversity. In this respect, JL is developing young people who can be tomorrow's leaders!

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Role:  Volunteer